When spouses divorce in Virginia, the courts use a process known as equitable distribution to split their assets between them. A number of factors are considered by the courts when dividing assets, but sometimes a spouse will try to hide assets in order to avoid the equitable distribution process. A recent study showed that more than three in 10 married adults have been deceptive with their spouse about money during the course of their marriage, and 58% said that they hid money from their spouse. If you believe your spouse is trying to hide assets during your Virginia divorce, you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney right away.
How to Uncover Hidden Assets
Your lawyer can use a number of methods to determine whether your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce. The first method is through traditional discovery methods with the court. This includes interrogatories, depositions, and requests for admission or for the production of documents.
Depositions are in-person interviews on the record for court, where you and your spouse give formal, recorded testimony about marital assets. Interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for the production of documents are all statements and documents created by each party and presented to the court, giving facts and arguments about the state of the marital assets in your divorce.
Another option is to secure the services of a forensic accountant, who will go through every account to make sure there is no money or assets missing when the equitable distribution of property occurs. A lawyer can also hire a private investigator to look into your spouse using skip searches to check titles, utilities, credit, and any licensing your spouse may have paid during the divorce.
One final option is securing the services of a professional electronic data collector. These professionals will go through a computer, phone, or other electronic device and retrieve any hidden data or recently deleted information that may be helpful in proving hidden assets during your divorce.
Penalties for Hiding Assets
If your spouse is found trying to hide assets during your divorce, the court can impose a number of penalties for the behavior. Punishments for attempting to hide assets in a divorce can include monetary sanctions, including receiving less than their equitable share of the marital property.
The court can also order increased spousal support payments to make up for the amount hidden by the paying spouse. In certain situations, the court may impose criminal penalties for hiding certain assets from the divorce process. Criminal sanctions typically occur when a spouse hides assets using illegal means, such as fraud or theft.
Contact a Lawyer Now
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets during your Virginia divorce, you need an attorney with expertise in handling this family law issue.